Thursday, July 31, 2008

Jonathan is 2!!!!!!!!!

My little guy turned 2 doesn't seem possible. Who told him to grow up so fast anyway? I decided at the last minute to invite all the neighbors on our street down to our house for dinner and cake tonight. We're usually all hanging out together in the evenings anyway, and often have dinner together too. About half of the husbands on our street are deployed right now, so it's just nice to have each other's company and friendship.

When Jonathan got dressed this morning he decided he wanted to wear his rain boots -- nevermind that I think we've only seen rain about 4 times in the 10 months we've been here (and today was not one of them). After he got his on, he brought Clara her boots and she happily put hers on as well. We were quite the site walking around town today!

Clara wrapped a couple of Jonathan's presents so they could be from her. I had forgotten to let her pick one out for him and she spent the last week trying to figure out which of her own toys she could wrap for him. I let it go for a while, wondering what she'd come up with. She wanted to give him her old slippers because she knows how much he likes to wear her shoes, and of course, then his feet wouldn't get cold. However, at the last minute she told me she wanted to save them so she could give them to her baby when she grows up and has a baby girl of her own. So I laid out all of Jonathan's presents on my bed and told her to pick 2 to wrap for him. She was so excited to be a part of his big day -- and she picked well!

After Jonathan's nap, he was not in a party mood!

There was time before everyone was supposed to start showing up to eat, so I let the kids open one of Jonathan's gifts. I didn't have enough paper to wrap it anyway!

Watch out! He'll be the next Michael Jordan!

Check out the cake! I'm really proud of it. I made it from scratch, a recipe I found online. It was yummy...and even my decorating skills were pretty good on this one!

Jonathan wasn't sure why everyone was singing.

He blew out the first candle no problem, but after a few tries and a little drool, I let the other kids help him with the second candle.

I think the only time we actually saw all the kids around was when the cake came out. The rest of the time they were off playing in Clara's room!

Jonathan got the first piece, of course!

Everyone liked the cake. I have just 2 small pieces left.

A picture of all the parents. I handed my camera off to one of the neighbors to take pics for me. There's not too many of the birthday boy, but had it not been for my neighbor, I wouldn't have any pics at all. I don't think I sat for more than 5 min all night. I've never entertained so many when Chris wasn't home to help. It was fun, but a challenge! Chris called to wish Jonathan a happy birthday and it was chaotic. We didn't get to talk long, but Jonathan was excited to hear his daddy's voice nonetheless.

Even Aunt Sandi came to help us celebrate.

Of course, we let balloons go again.

Clara and Jonathan each got a dozen...

Clara let hers go and Jonathan just watched them. He didn't cry this time. He was mesmerized by the way they flew away.

When he had enough of watching Clara's float away, he let his go too.

Shortly after, everyone started heading home. It was late and time to get all the kids to bed. My kids both needed baths too. I felt bad because we never got around to opening gifts today.

So after putting my house back together and bathing the kids, I asked Clara to go get one of the gifts she had wrapped.

Jonathan was excited to have it, but wasn't sure what to do with it, so I asked Clara to help him.

As Clara peeled the paper off Jonathan watched and said, "Ooooo, bops" which is how he says 'box' -- apparently that's all he needed to see.

Holy PJs, Batman! The perfect gift just before bed time. They are the cutest PJs! There's even a little cape that velcros to the shoulders. He loves them! He ran around the house saying, "Fast!" Clara said, "Are they Batman or Fatman pajamas?"

I asked Clara to take a pic of me with my birthday boy. She took a few, all blurry, but this is the best.

Not to be left out, she then turned the camera around to take a pic of herself.

Tomorrow we get to open all the rest of the presents!

I can't believe it's been 2 years since I brought that little guy home from the hospital. He's an amazing, affectionate, warm-hearted little boy. He has taught me so much in these past 2 years and I can't wait to see what else he has in store for me!

Happy Bithday, Jonathan!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Words of Wisdom

"Daddy says it's OK to pick your nose sometimes, if you're in the car."
-- Clara

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Redcocks 60th Anniversary

Chris' squadron just celebrated their 60th anniversary for which they did a 6 plane 'Flyby'. One of the guys in Chris' squadron took some pics and a video. I got Chris to ask if it was alright to post them on the blog and we got the OK -- so here they are.

Chris was not in any of the planes this time around, but the pics are cool nonetheless.

Enjoy! (Just 18 more weeks till Chris comes home!)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Zoo Camp -- A,B, Seas

Here are the pics of Clara at zoo camp I promised. Today was her last day for this session. She gets to go for one more week, the first week of August. I truly cannot say enough about the zoo camp here. It is a fantastic program. Clara looked forward to it everyday, so much so that she never complained about getting up and going to bed early. When I would show up to pick her up everyday, I always had to sit through "one more song" or "one more story" because she just didn't want to leave. The whole way home she would tell me excitedly about everything she learned, like, did you know that baby flamingoes are gray, not pink? She learned that the daddy penguin carries the egg on his feet (she even got to imitate it) and that trash in the ocean is bad for the sea life, for example, if a sea turtle was to swallow a trash bag thinking it looked like a jellyfish. She learned that many consider a stingray a type of flattened shark and she even learned all about gills. It was amazing to listen to her each day after zoo camp, she was happy and enthusiastic.

Everyday when I dropped her off in the morning they would have several stations set up in the classroom to engage the kids while waiting for everyone to show up. The kids were quiet, happy, and busy. Clara would leave my side as soon as we walked in the door. I would have to chase her down after signing her in to stick on her name tag. She didn't care to say goodbye to me, she was just ready to get involved. This is a pic of her in one of the stations where they had various stingrays and underwater creatures in a tub of water and different shells to look at as well.

Every day Jonathan and I would find something in Fresno to keep us busy until it was time to go back and pick her up. He would periodically say 'Sissy' for the whole 3 hours -- he really missed her. He'd get really excited each day when I would tell him it was time to go back to get her. When I would return to pick her up Jonathan would find her in the group of kids and run over to her to give her a big hug. Clara always asked to stay for one more story or song and so Jonathan would sit down right next to her and join in with the group.

They were singing this cute song called 'Slippery Fish'. Cards/Octopus.mp3 I had to ask the teacher for the words because that night both Clara and Jonathan were running around the house singing it with Clara trying to teach Jonathan all the hand motions. It was adorable!

Still singing 'Slippery Fish'.

I mentioned before that they were well staffed. You can see in this pic the main instructors were the girl in the turqoise polo shirt and the one in the black polo shirt. The other 5 girls in the green shirts were helpers. There were actually 2 others there that you can't see in this pic. All the same teachers and helpers were there each day and this pic shows the whole class of kids. They were almost matched one for one. The helpers were all very young -- like high school age. Clara told me that each day when they'd walk into the zoo, each child was assigned a teacher and a buddy, so each teacher only worried about 2 kids as they walked through the was a fantastic feeling that I had left Clara in such a safe environment. I had been worried if she was ready for this before it all started. I think just the word 'camp' made me a little apprehensive, even if she wasn't staying away over night. All my fears were put at ease as soon as we showed up the first day.

One of the days, Jonathan and I kept busy by hanging out at the zoo too. I was hoping to run into Clara's class when they went over there to get more pics, but it turned out to be the one day they didn't go into the zoo because they had a puppet show instead. Here's Jonathan at the prairie dog exhibit.

What's in there?

Just a Camel!

We caught the end of the puppet show when we went back to pick Clara up.

Clara made this fabulous turtle and named him Squirt, like the baby turtle from Finding Nemo

All the kids were pretending that their turtles were scared and stuck their heads back in their shells.

Today Clara got to bring home all the other art projects she had made at zoo camp this week. There was a jelly fish, a penguin pencil topper, a color sheet, and a rainbow fish...and it was all tucked nicely in this beautiful envelope she made as well.

Like I said, there's nothing bad I can say about this program. It's the best thing Clara has been involved in yet and she's already bragging to her friends that she gets to go back in a couple weeks. It's a wonderful feeling when you can pick your child up from something like this and know that they've been stimulated intellectually and creatively...and they had a blast doing it!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Good Nap

Clara started zoo camp this week. She was so excited all weekend knowing this was finally the week zoo camp started. She was awake when I went in her room Monday morning at 7:15am (not a common thing in our house) and she sang a zoo song the whole 45 min drive there the first day. She loves it! It's more structured than I thought it would be, which I'm more than pleased with and she is having so much fun! She was so excited to meet all new friends and to learn about zoo animals. There's about 12-15 kids ages 3-5 in her class and there's easily 5 teachers, so they're well staffed. Clara said most of the kids in there were already 5, I'd be surprised if any were actually 3. They do projects and games in the education building at the zoo and then each day they walk into the zoo to visit about 3 different animals. Clara got to see the giraffes, zebras, bears and seals/sea lions yesterday and today they went to see the stingrays and sharks and they saw some crabs as well. As gas prices have been rising this summer I have been wondering whether or not it was a good thing to have signed Clara up for zoo camp, seeing as how it's a 45 min drive each way each day, but now I look forward to next year when I can sign Jonathan up as well (as long as he's potty trained by then). Hopefully, he'll be potty trained well before next summer. They'll even be able to be in the same class! Imagine...3 hours a day with no kids!

Anyway, the kids are adjusting to the early mornings with earlier naps and less flexible bedtimes. Today Clara slept so well for her nap that she thought it was morning when she got up. I think it helped that I had also laid down for a nap in my bed. She came in my room saying, "Mommy, Look!" holding out her shirt. I had no idea what she was referring to. We had changed her shirt after zoo camp this morning because it was still wet from the stingray bay. She said, "I forgot to change it." I told her it was fine, we had changed her into it because the other one was wet. She said, "but I forgot to put on my pajamas." OHHHHH! I finally understood her concern! It took me about 15 min to explain to her that she had not slept through the night, that it was not morning, but afternoon. Just as I thought she understood, I asked her if she was ready to go play outside with her friends, she looked at me puzzled and said, "You mean after breakfast?" I don't think she fully understood until we went outside. It was pretty funny, she's never gotten confused like that before.

I snapped a couple pics of Clara at zoo camp when I dropped her off and picked her up, but I'm going to wait to post them until I get a couple more (hopefully some better ones) later this week.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tough guy

One of my neighbors cuts hair in her garage and I asked her to cut Jonathan's hair yesterday. It turned out super cute! It's a tad bit shorter than I was going for, but it's too cute. I haven't been able to get a really good pic of it yet, but here's a couple I took last night.

You should see him when it's all spiked up and he has his sunglasses on -- he looks like a tough guy!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Swim Lessons

Thursday and Friday were the last 2 days of swim lessons for the kids, so I got to hang out and watch the progress they had made. I took lots of pics since Chris couldn't be there -- both kids learned a good bit.

Clara's Lessons

I mentioned before that the lessons were given in someone's backyard pool. I didn't think to get a pic of the whole pool, but you can see the length of it in this pic. Clara's class is on the steps at the closer end here, waiting their turns, and the diving board is on the far end -- It's not too big at all, which makes it all the more impressive what they do. Here Clara is pushing off the steps to swim to her teacher.

Clara swimming underwater

Clara swimming on her back. Her teacher said that what she needs to work on is keeping her body straight. You can see in this pic that her bottom is kinda lagging, the teacher suggested I work on this with her and she'll be able to advance to the next level!

The second day Clara was a little straighter

Jumping off the side of the pool

Getting ready for the diving board

'Walking her toes up to the edge'

And the jump! She jumped off the diving board 3 more times on the second day, but I missed getting it on camera each time for one reason or another. Once the kids jump in, their teacher is waiting in the pool to help them orient themselves then to guide them toward the wall. They swim to the wall and then 'walk their hands' along the wall until they get to the steps to climb out. I thought it was great that they taught them those little things as well!

Clara with her teacher, Ms. Kristen

Jonathan's Lessons

Here's what Jonathan does for most of his lesson -- holds on to Ms. Mimi with a monkey hold (arms and legs)

Every once in a while she dunks him underwater

And teaches him how to kick

He tried to go limp when they attempted to make him stand on the diving board

Still, they swung him off as though he jumped on his own

They even taught him how to get out of the water on his own!

I think this is his favorite part!

The first day I watched, Jonathan did fine for the first couple minutes until he realized I was still there, and then he started crying and didn't stop until Ms. Mimi let him come to me about 5 min before the end of class. The second day I hid behind some chairs so I could see what he had learned -- he did great when he didn't know I was there. I hope by next year he's more willing to go to 'strangers'. He spent the full first week crying this year, not because he was scared of the water, but because I had left him with a stranger.

Clara did fantastic!!! I am so impressed with all that she can do -- she's miles ahead of where I was at 4, I mean really, she jumped off the diving board!

They gave each of the kids a little certificate of accomplishment on the last day. Clara is soooo proud!